Sometimes we need to get out of our own way and take a chance. However, fear of failure, of being laughed at, not liked, thought badly of, can prevent us from pushing ourselves into the unknown and stop us from gradually moving forward into developing new skills, abilities and life experiences.
It can lead us to resist offers to try out new places and things, to have a go or speak at an event, due to fear or concern at what might happen. We may second-guess ourselves, run a ‘what if' narrative. Perhaps we're unsure as to what to say or do, are hesitant at risking looking ridiculous or apprehensive about being embarrassed.
But others also share those fears and concerns and it can inspire and encourage them to have a go when they see someone else taking a chance, refusing to get in their own way and not stress too much about the potential consequences.
Others are often appreciative and supportive of those who try, so why not instead decide to take a few positive steps, stop hi-jacking ourselves and enjoy the opportunity to move out of our comfort zone!
– Start small. By taking one step at a time, you gradually build up your confidence. If you have social anxiety, instead of agreeing to go for dinner at a buzzing, ultra-smart restaurant why not first get used to going out for coffees and lunches at busy times of the day? Choose positive ways to take things at your own pace, make your day and get out of your way!
– Get used to mixing with a variety of people and going out. If you've a meeting, interview or presentation, practice pulling together a few bullet points and rehearse in front of a mirror or with a small, supportive audience. Focus on the areas you feel unsure about.
– Be aware of how you talk to yourself. We're often our own worst critic, berating ourselves in ways we'd never dream of speaking to others. Instead, tell yourself that you can do it, it's worth it, that others are not as interested or invested in what you do as you are; all ways to help in moving past any initial doubts and hesitancy.
– Address areas that feel neglected, that are in need of a little help. Use this opportunity as the motivation to improve your appearance, your wardrobe, update your image, benefit your conversational skills or education. It might require a little effort, but that commitment will be repaid by enhancing your life and making you feel more invested in the quality of your day-to-day engagements.
– Keep up-to-date with local news and popular TV shows, so enabling you to find it relatively easy to join conversations and connect with others. Or ask people ‘tame' questions about their holidays or how they spend their time; fairly safe approaches to starting conversations.
– Enlist the help of a supportive friend, family member, therapist, coach or mentor, someone who's on your side and will champion you along, sometimes applauding your efforts, sometimes giving you a nudge to keep going. Be open to that happening and appreciate constructive feedback and suggestions. It can be surprising to discover how differently others see us, compared to how we see ourselves.
– Nurture a curious, interested mindset by doing something new and challenging every day, so making you think and step out of your comfort zone. It may be simply travelling a different route to work, cooking something you've never tried before for dinner. Think about ways you can fire up a positive, interesting and engaged approach to life and relish where it takes you.
– Value opportunities to say ‘yes' to invitations and try new experiences and relationships. Even agreeing to do things that may not initially appeal can lead to unexpected successes and adventures. And sometimes using ‘no' can be positive too, if it stops you from becoming overwhelmed and exhausted.
When we get out of our own way, we stop thinking about how other people perceive us, or of ways to keep them happy. We move beyond looking for the easy options in life or justifying ways to not do things. Going with the flow allows us to live in the moment and be enthusiastic about having a go. When you get out of your way you can make your day!